A part of U. S. Genealogy Express


Piatt County, Illinois


The following Biographies have been extracted from the following sources:
Portrait and Biographical History of DeWitt & Piatt County, Illinois
CHICAGO: Chapman Bros.  1891

AB - CD - EF - GHI - JKL - MN - OPQ - RS - TUV - WXYZ

PLEASE NOTE:  If you are interested in one of these names,
please contact me and I will try to put it on here ahead of the others that are not done yet.
Sharon Wick, Piatt County Host

WALKER, Edward W.
WALSER, Anthony
WARNER, Jesse W.
WEAVER, Little Berry
WEDDLE, John H. **   *
WELFLY, Samuel
WERNER, James A.
WHITE, Benjamin R.
WHITE, John M. *
WILLIAMS, Clarkson
WILSON, Joseph
WILSON, Joseph
WING, Lucius B.
WISE, Jacob
WOOD, John W., Maj.


W. G. Wack, a prosperous grocery dealer in the town of Mansfield, Piatt County, is a man who commands the respect of the people about him by his manly character, strict integrity and general intelligence.  He was born in Somerset County, N. J., Aug. 14, 1834, and reared on a farm in Fulton County, this State, to which he was brought in his childhood.  He remembers when wild game was plentiful near his home, and he even recollects the tiresome journey from the East, that was made in a wagon and consumed a period of thirty-two days.  During the boyhood years of Mr. Wack log schoolhouses were the temples of learning in Fulton County, and in such a one he pursued his studies, gradually completing the common-school course.  He began his personal career in 1854, farming his father's place, from which he came to Piatt County in the spring of 1868.  Here he bought two hundred and seventy-seven acres of raw prairie on section 2, Blue Ridge Township, and by degrees brought it under thorough cultivation and supplied it with first-class improvements.  The township was sparsely settled when he came here and Mansfield was not laid out until two years after his arrival.  In 1887 he gave up farming and removed to the village, where four years later he embarked in the business which he is still carrying on and in which he is doing well financially.
     August 14, 1862, Mr. Wack was united in marriage to Miss E. A. Sherwood, who was born in Wayne County, N. Y., in 1829.  She is a daughter of Walter H. and Margaret (Sly) Sherwood, natives of New York and Pennsylvania respectively.  The former died when sixty years of age and the latter lived to be eighty-four, passing away in 1887.  They were worthy members of the Baptist Church and carefully reared their daughter, whose noble womanhood gives her the respect of the community and the love of those who best understand her worth.  Stephen Sherwood, grandfather of Mrs. Wack, emigrated from England to America and located in Seneca County, N. Y.  He was once treed by wolves and had to remain all night among the branches.  His wife, Rebecca Workman, was a niece of President John Adams. 
     The Wack family in America is descended from Casper Wack, who came to this country from Germany accompanied by a brother, both being ministers of the Gospel.  Each married and reared a large family, one of sons and one of daughters.  One of the sons was Jacob, who was born in Pennsylvania an went from that State to New Jersey, where he was engaged in farming until his death.  To him was born a son, Casper, whose natal year was 1812.  That gentleman married Mary J. Linaberry, a native of New Jersey, who was of German descent.  In 1839 the good couple came to Fulton County, this State, where the husband bought and improved a farm.  There the wife died in 1858, cheered by the faith of the Baptist Church, with which her husband was also identified.  In the spring of 1868 Casper Wack sold his Fulton County property and came to Piatt.  He died here in 1881.  To him and his wife thirteen children were born, five of them now surviving and one the subject of this biography.
     Mr. Wack of this notice has been a Mason since 1867.  He has held various township offices, among them those of Supervisor and Clerk, and whether in public or private life, follows the motto, "I would rather be right than be President."  In politics he is a Democrat and has been a delegate to county and State conventions and helped in the local work.  He is a member of the Episcopal Church.  He has given good school privileges to his children and his wife has looked carefully after their manners and morals at home.  Mr. and Mrs. Wack mourn the death of two children - Walter S. and Mary J. the first and second on the family roll.  The living children are William G., Isabella and Casper S.
John D. Wagoner is one of the prosperous farmers of Piatt County, and is successfully carrying on his agricultural interests in Cerro Gordo Township where he has a good farm on section 24.  He is a native of Clinton County, Ind., and was there born November 4, 1845.  His parents, Davis and Esther (Wolf) Wagoner were natives of Ohio and were of German descent.  In the spring of 1865 they came from Indiana to Piatt County, and settled in Cerro Gordo Township.  Here their remaining days were spent in comfort, and his death occurred in the year 1876 and hers in 1883, both being then quite advanced in years.  they were the parents of four children, of whom two are living. - John D. and Elizabeth, the latter, the wife of Leonard Ullery.  Those deceased are Leonard F. and Barbara.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Wagoner were people of true piety and were valued members of the Old German Baptist Church.
     Our subject was in the vigor of a manly, stalwart youth when he came to this county with his family in 1865, and he has made his home here ever since.  He was reared to the life of a farmer and has always made it his calling.  He received a fair education and has a good knowledge of both the English and German languages.  He is a farmer of practical ability, as is shown by his well-tilled and well-improved farm to the care of which he devotes himself assiduously.
     April 5, 1868, was the date of an important event in the life of our subject, as he has then united in marriage to Susannah Henricks.  She is also a native of Indiana, born in Carroll County July 22, 1844.  She is a daughter of Elisha and Anne (Michel) Henricks who wee natives of Indiana.  They wee the parents of five children, of whom these four are living - Susannah, Samuel, Isaac and Mary A., wife of Isaac Arnold.  The mother of these children died and Mr. Henricks was married a second time and by that marriage became the father of the following nine children:  Hannah, wife of J. H. Near; John Rufus, Elisha, M. I., Joseph; Barbara, wife of Augustus Roberts; Elizabeth C. and Davis.  Mrs. Wagoner's parents were members of the Old German Baptist Church.  Mr. and Mrs. Wagoner have had two children, M. I. and Anne E. deceased.
     In placing his one hundred and twenty acres of land under a high state of cultivation Mr. Wagoner has contributed his quota toward developing the agricultural interests of De Witt Township and he is justly classed with it most useful citizens.  He is a self-made man, having to win his way to his present comfortable circumstances by the exercise of unwearied industry.  He has been ably assisted in his work by his good wife who is at once a fitting helpmate and a wise counselor.  He and Mrs. Wagoner are members of the old German Baptist Church and are people of exemplary habits.  He is public-spirited doing all that he can for the good of his township.
Edward W. Walker, ex-Treasurer of Piatt County, was born near Bemus Heights, Saratoga County, N.Y., Jan. 8, 1856.  His grandfather Joseph Walker, lived on a farm which comprises a part of the Stillwater battleground.  He reared six daughters and one son.  He was born in Scotland and after his emigration to America spent his years in the Empire State.  Seth R. Walker, father of our subject, was reared and educated in his native county, and after he had become grown, engaged in farming.  After his marriage he went to St. Simon's Island, off the coast of Georgia, and was overseer of a plantation there three years.  He then returned to his native State, settled on the old homestead, and lived there until 1865.
     In March of that year Seth Walker came to Illinois, and making his home in Champaign County, engaged in the lumber business as a member of the firm of Walker, Lapham & Co.  Two years later he abandoned the business and began the manufacture of pressed brick, establishing that industry in Champaign County, in 1867.  In 1870 he removed to Mansfield and in April opened the railroad station there for the Indiana, Bloomington & Western Railroad, now the Big Four.  There was no village there at the time, and as one grew Mr. Walker was made Postmaster, an office in which he served twelve years.  He continued to act as station agent until 1873, after which he was engaged in the sale of groceries and agricultural implements and the buying of grain until March, 1886.  He then went to Cheyenne County, Neb., took up a homestead and also bought six hundred and forty acres of land ten miles from Potter, where he has continued to reside.
     The father of our subject has been three times married.  The maiden name of the mother of Edward W. was Ruth Baker, and she also was married three times.  She was born in Saratoga County, N. Y., was a daughter of Israel and Ann Baker, and died in Champaign City, Ill., Nov. 14, 1871.  Our subject has one brother, named Irving S.  Edward W., of whom we write, attended the district schools in his native county in the Empire State and afterward pursued his studies in Champaign, Ill.  In 1868, when but twelve years old, he began to assist his father in the brickyard and after the removal to Mansfield was his assistant in the store until the fall of 1877.
     Young Walker then located at Blue Ridge Station and engaged in the sale of groceries and death in grain.  In addition to this he was the first Postmaster in the village.  He continued in business there until 1881, then returned to Mansfield, and in 1885 he was appointed Postmaster of that town, holding the office until after the change of administration.  In 1886 he was elected County Treasurer for four years, and removed to Monticello.
     Realizing that it was not good for man to live alone, Mr. Walker won an estimable and attractive young lady for his wife.  This was Alice Roseberry, a daughter of Isaac J. and Nancy Roseberry, and a native of Berlin, Sangamon County.  The marriage rites were solemnized April 3, 1877.  The household circle has been added to by the birth of two sons - John R. and Earl D.  Mrs. Walker is a member in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Mr. Walker is a Republican in politics.  Both are held in high esteem by their neighbors and acquaintances, and the reputation of Mr. Walker extends into business and political circles.
John H. Weddle.  To this gentleman and his associates in the farming community of Willow Branch Township, Piatt County is much indebted for what they have done to advance its material interests as skillful, progressive agriculturalists.  His farm, comprising four hundred acres of highly improved land on section 1, is under fine cultivation and amply provided with nest and commodious buildings and everything needful to conduct farming operations after the most approved modern methods.  Here he and his family enjoy life in one of the most attractive homes in this part of the county.  A valuable addition to this volume is the view presented on another page, of the fine estate owned and operated by Mr. Weddle.
     Mr. Weddle is a native of Pulaski County, Ky., where his birth took place July 6, 1844.  He is a where his birth took place July 6, 1844.  He is a son of the late Samuel and Anna (Spencer) Weddle, and his paternal ancestor are said to be of German origin while his maternal progenitors were English.   His maternal great-grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  The Weddle family were early settlers of Kentucky.  Samuel Weddle, the father of our subject, migrated with his wife and children to Illinois in 1845, and located in Morgan County.  The journey was made on a flatboat and steamer and when they landed at their destination the father had but fifty cents left.  They resided in Morgan County for a time and also lived in Scott County.  In 1854 they moved to De Witt County, and two years later came to Piatt County, settling in Willow Branch Township.
     Here Mr. Weddle entered a quarter-section of land for which he paid fifty cents an acre, and which now forms a part of the estate of his son, our subject.  It was then in a wild condition just as the Indians had left it, and at one time Mr. Waddle counted thirty-six deer in one part of it.  He broke the first furrow and made many improvements while he was engaged in active farming.  At his death, November 28, 1888, Willow Branch Township lost one of its most worthy pioneers and best citizens.  His widow survived him and is now past three-score and ten years.  Of their marriage thirteen children were born, of whom the following survive:  Elizabeth, wife of F. M. Shull of Scott Count; John H.; Mar, wife of William Talbert of California; Daniel, a resident of Piatt County; Martha, wife of William Wilson of Missouri; Emma, wife William Marsh of Macon County, and Melissa, wife of William Marsh of Macon County, and Melissa, wife of Benjamin F. Stuart, of California.
     John H. Weddle was but a boy when he came to this county with his parents, and here he was reared to man's estate on the farm of which he is now a proprietor.  He received his education in the primitive schools of his youth, and the information thus gained he has since supplemented by extensive reading and practical experience, so that he is today a well-8informed man.  He was but eighteen years of age when he offered his services to help fight his country's battles, enlisting July 26, 1862, in Company D, Seventy-third Illinois Infantry, which became a part of the Army of the Cumberland.  He fought bravely in the battle of Chickamauga, did good service at Mission Ridge, Resaca and Adairsville and again faced the rebels at Lost Mountain, Kenesaw Mountain, and Peach Tree Creek.  During the last engagement Mr. Weddle was kneeling behind a stump, loading a gun, and as he putting the cap on the gun, a ball from the enemy graze his right shoulder, struck and went nearly through his knapsack, cutting every button off his shirt, which was rolled up inside of it, and tore twelve holes in his blanket.  Mr. Weddle, however, escaped uninjured, although the deadly fire of the enemy struck down men on every side.  He was in the famous engagement at Atlanta, took part in the battles of Lovejoy and Spring Hill, and was with his regiment at Franklin and Nashville, which were two of the most hotly contested engagements of the war.  He was with Thomas when Hood was annihilated and his experiences of life in the army were many and varied.  He was honorably discharged June 12, 1865, and then returned to his old home in Piatt County, to begin anew the work that he had dropped when he enlisted in the service of the United States. 
     Our subject has met with conspicuous success in his agricultural operations, and is classed among the leading farmers and stock-growers of Piatt County.  His estate comprises four hundred acres of as fine farming land as can be found for miles in any direction; the improvements are all first class, including a handsome and well-appointed brick residence, one of the finest in the county.  To the lady who presides so graciously over his home and cordially unites with him in extending its pleasant hospitalities to their numerous friends, he was married September 23, 1873.  Mrs. Weddle was formerly Amanda Cain, and is a native of Adams County, Ill., born July 19, 1854, to Abel and Octavia Cain, natives respectively of Ohio and Illinois.  Her parents had a number of children, of whom these are the survivors:  Mrs. Weddle; Warren, a resident of Decatur, and Albert, who lives in Bement.  The father now resides in Adams County, and is over sixty years of age.  Mr. and Mrs. Weddle have seven living children - Mr. and Mrs. Weddle have seven living children - Minnie E., Jesse O., Marion A., Chester A., Cyrus W., Bertha A., and Philip H.
     Mr. Weddle is one of the representative citizens of his county, and has used his influence to extend the interests of the community; we always find him contributing liberally to all projects that will in any way enhance the general welfare of this section.  He has interested himself in educational matters, and has served as School Director.  His political sentiments are in accord with the principles promulgated by the Republican party, and he gives his support to the candidates pledged to work in behalf of the principles of that party. (The Weddle Residence)

James A. Werner, who owns and occupies a well-developed farm in Piatt County, is one of the enterprising and progressive agriculturists to whom Cerro Gordo Township is indebted for its prosperity and high development.  His land is located on section 29, and consists of eighty acres which have been supplied with the usual improvements.  Its condition results from the industry and thrift of Mr. Werner, who broke the first furrow on the place and has made it what it is to-day.
     The birth of Mr. Werner took place August 16, 1838, in Cumberland County, Pa.  His parents, James and Mary (Taughenbaugh) Werner, who were also Pennsylvanians, removed to Preble County, Ohio, about 1848, and in 1859 came to this State.  They first located in Macon County but shortly after the close of the Civil War they came to Piatt County, settling in Cerro Gordo Township, where the wife and mother died April 14, 1888.  The family was one of the first to settle in their neighborhood and the father broke the first ground on the southeast quarter of section 29.  He remained there until 1889 then removed to Decatur, where he is now living, enjoying the comforts due to his meritorious life.  He is now nearly four scour years of age.  He belongs to the Prohibitionist party and is a member of the Church of God.  Of the six children born to himself and wife two besides our subject are living, both making their homes in Decatur.  Their names are John T. and Alfred M.
     The early education of James Werner was obtained in the public schools of the Keystone and Buckeye States, and when but a boy he began working at the trade of a blacksmith, which was that followed by his father.  The greater part of his life, however, has been given to the pursuit of agriculture.  After a few years of bachelorhood he won for his wife Miss Margaret E. Osborn, daughter of James A. and Martha E. (Brockman) Osborn, who was born in Jersey County, this State, July 26, 1849.  Her mother who is now deceased, was born in Kentucky, and her father in Virginia.  Both came to this State in childhood.  The father is now living in Kansas.  The family of Mr. and Mrs. Osborn was a large one and eight sons and daughters still survive.  They are Mrs. Werner; Ann, wife of James Reed, living in Lincoln, Neb.; Mary, wife of Baxter Thomas, of LaFayette, Ind.; John J., whose home is in Piatt County, Kan.; Henry L., and Edward, living in Emporia, Kan.; William and Walter, also living in the Garden State.  Mr. and Mrs. Werner began their wedded life December 25, 1866.  They have two children - Mary E., born September 30, 1869, and Chauncy O., July 14, 1879.
     In 1872 Mr. Werner made a permanent settlement on his present farm in acquiring and improving which he has been ably assisted by his faithful wife.  Her good taste and excellent judgment are only excelled by her prudent control of affairs placed in her hands and she makes of her abiding-place a true home.
     Mr. and Mrs. Werner are justly pleased with the improvement that has been made in the locality since they took up their abode where they are now living, and are grateful for the privilege of aiding in bringing about the result.  Both are active members of society, well known and highly respected.  Mr. Werners aims to keep himself well-informed, not only regarding matters connected with his life work, but on all topics of general interest.  He exercises the right of suffrage as a Republican.

John M. White.  When after years of long and earnest labor in some honorable field of business, a man puts aside all cares to spend his remaining days in the quiet enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil, it is certainly a well deserved reward of industry.
"How blest is he, who crowns in the shades like these,
A youth of labor with the age of ease,"
wrote the poet, and the world everywhere recognizes the justice of the season of rest following the active period of business life.  Mr. White is now living retired at his pleasant home in Monticello, and his history shows the accomplishment of well directed labor.  His residence in Piatt county covers a period of almost forty years, during which he was long connected with agricultural interests, but while promoting his individual success he has also labored for the general welfare and has advocated many measures which have led to the substantial improvement and material upbuilding of this section of the state.
     A native of Ohio, John M. White was born in Franklin county, on the 27th of January in 1817, and comes of English ancestry, being a direct descendant of the house of Tudor, long the reigning house of England.  In the paternal line he is probably of Irish lineage, as it is thought that his grandfather, Samuel S. White, was born on the Emerald Isle.  For many years, however, he resided in Virginia, where he engaged in teaching school but early in the Eighth century he removed to Ohio, establishing his home near the Scioto Big Run, four miles southwest of the present city of Columbus.  Again he resumed his educational work becoming one of the first instructors in the schools of Franklin county, Ohio.  He was also interested in agricultural pursuits, and securing a large tract of wild land he transformed it into a fine farm on which he made his home until his death, which was the result of an accident caused by a runaway horse.  He was then ninety-six years of age.  He had served as justice of the peace in the county and was a man of considerable prominence, leaving the impress of his individuality upon the early development and permanent improvement of that part of the state.  His wife bore the maiden name of Jane Stuart, and was of Scotch lineage.  She died at the home of Mrs. John M. White, Sr., about 1836.  His father was an own cousin of Mary, Queen of Scots, and thus comes our subject's connection with the house of Tudor.  One branch of the Stuart family was established in Virginia, where they conducted hotels, and when the Revolutionary war broke out the great-grandfather, who would not take up arms against the mother country, returned to England, there enlisted in the British service and fought against the United States.  His property in Virginia was confiscated, and when the war ended he was given a tract of land in Halifax to recompense him for what he had lost in the United States.  He wrote of this to his family, who were prepared to join him in Nova Scotia, but no news was ever received from him afterward, and it is supposed that he was lost on the water.  Years afterward one of his granddaughters met a lawyer from Halifax, who told her that the property included in the grant to her grandfather had become very valuable and was held in the name of the Stuart heirs, whom it was thought would some day come and claim possession.
     John M. White, Sr., the father of our subject, was a native of Hardy county, West Virginia, and when a young man accompanied his parents on their removal to Ohio.  When the war of 1812 was in progress he drove a six horse team to Fort Franklin, a military post now included within the city of Columbus, and there his horses were pressed into service and he decided to go with them, thus serving in the war of 1812.  He married Mrs. Rachel Moorehead, nee McDowell, and settled on the Moorehead farm, on the Scioto river, two miles from Columbus, where he spent his remaining days.  He did not live to an advanced age, however, but passed away November 17 1833.  By her first marriage his wife had three children:  Sarah, Jane and Lincoln, all deceased.  Unto her marriage to Mr. White there were also three children born: Samuel S., deceased; John M., of this review; and Marilla, who became the wife of John N. Cherry and died in Franklin county, Ohio.
     Amid the wild scenes of pioneer life in Ohio John M. White, of this sketch, was reared.  All around lay the uncultivated land, and the forests stood in their primeval strength.  Frontier conditions existed and the family had to endure many hardships and trials incident to pioneer life.  Mr. White was educated after the primitive manner of the times in a log schoolhouse, conning his lessons while sitting on a slab bench.  Light was admitted into the room through greased paper, covering an aperture made by removing a log, and the building was heated by a fireplace, capable of containing an immense back log.  The methods of instructions were almost as primitive as the little "temple of learning," and thus Mr. White had to depend upon reading, experience and observation in later life to broaden his knowledge and supplement the instruction which he gained in the school room.  The Wyandotte Indians were frequent visitors at the White home, and deer and other wild game abounded in the forests and Mr. White has more than once brought home venison and other wild meat for the family larder.  When his father died he continued to operate the home farm for his mother, and after her death the property was divided, he receiving one hundred and fourteen acres of the land, on which tract stood the home buildings.  Mr. White devoted his energies with success, becoming the owner of a valuable property.  He continued his residence in Ohio until 1864, when he came to Illinois, and in the fall of that year settled in Piatt county.  Here he purchased two hundred and eighty acres in Sangamon township, and subsequently added to this tract until he had five hundred and eighty-four acres of valuable land, including the Major Bowman farm of two hundred and forty acres, which he continued to cultivate until 1886.  In the intervening years his carefully conducted business affairs had brought to him a handsome competence, and with this he retired to private life, establishing his home in Monticello, where he has since lived in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil.
     In 1843 was performed the wedding ceremony which united the destinies of Mr. White and Miss Jane Huffman, who was born near Columbus, Ohio, a daughter of Jacob and Rebecca Huffman, but she passed away in 1845, leaving two children; Ophelia J., now the wife of Thomas Moffitt; and Frank, a well-known business man of this county.  For his second wife Mr. White chose Rebecca H. Williams, their marriage taking place January 25, 1849.  She was a great-granddaughter of Vincent Isaac Williams, who lived near what is now Williamsport, West Virginia.  He met a very tragic death.  On one occasion while his family were in the fort at Moorefield, West Virginia, he and a colored man went over to his farm to look after his stock.  The Indians were then on the warpath and seven of them attacked Mr. Williams, who rushed to his log cabin and succeeded in killing five of the savages.  This so enraged the remaining two that they picked out the mortar from the rear of the cabin while Mr. Williams' attention was directed in front, one of them shot and killed him.
     The parents of Mrs. White were Isaac V. and Mary D. (Hendricks) Williams, both of whom were natives of Virginia, and the latter was reared to the age of fourteen years at Harper's Ferry.  She was a niece of General Darke, in whose honor Darke county, Ohio, was named.  At an early day her parents removed to Ohio and located on the Scioto River, fifteen miles south of Columbus and four miles south of Chillicothe.  The lives of the early settlers were constantly menaced by the treachery of the red men and Mrs. Williams, afraid to leave her baby in the cabin, would carry it to the spring when she went for a pail of water.  Hardships and difficulties of all kinds incident to pioneer life were experience by the family, and while the men of the household worked in the fields the wife and mother spun and wove the material which was used in fashioning the garments of the early settlers.  The nearest market town was Chillicothe, thirty-five miles distant, and the way led through the forests, there being no road save the old Indian trail.  At his death the father left an estate of eleven hundred acres of which his widow took charge and settled.  In the family were nine children: Joseph, who married a lady of New York city; Isaac, who married and removed to Illinois in 1883; John and Eliza, who are now deceased; James, who died in Indiana; Vincent, who cared for his mother until her death at the age of seventy-seven years; Sarah, who married Benjamin Rennock, but is now deceased; Edwin, who died in childhood; and Rebecca H., wife of our subject, and the only one now living.
     The last named was the youngest member of the household.  She was born in Pickaway county, Ohio, about four miles from Bloomfield, and by her marriage she has become the mother of five children: Benjamin R.; Vincent I.; Sarah W., the wife of Horace Caleff; John M., and Mary Darke, the wife of E. I. Williams, living in Lafayette.  Mrs. White is a valued and exemplary member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and to her family has ever been a devoted wife and mother.  Like her husband, she is a representative of old and distinguished pioneer families, and her ancestral history is one of close and honorable connection with the development of Virginia as well as Ohio.
     For almost forty years Mr. White has been a resident of Piatt county, and has therefore witnessed much of its development.  Much of the land was wild and unimproved when he came to this section of the state, and he has borne his full share in the work of transforming it into what is today - one of the rich agricultural districts of this great state, whose fine farms are unsurpassed throughout the length and breadth of this fair land.  Throughout his entire career his life has been honorable and upright, characterized by fidelity to duty in all relations and manifesting energy and enterprise in his business career.  His worth is widely acknowledged, and he has the confidence and good will of young and old, rich and poor.  He justly deserves the rest which he is now enjoying, and now history of Piatt county would be complete without mention of John M. White.
Allen Williams.  In the lives of man, particularly if they be successful in any line, much interest is felt by others, and all are anxious to know by what means they arrived at their financial status, professional repute or established character.  Allen Williams, a well-known resident of Piatt County, has become a large landowner and prosperous citizen by means of sturdy perseverance, faithful service when employed by others, and prudent use of the means which he gained from year to year.  He is the owner of more than six hundred acres of land, two hundred and forty being included in his home farm on section 24, Willow Branch Township.  Here he has a fine large brick residence, put up in 1881-82, and such other buildings as he has found to be necessary or convenient, all substantial and well designed for their respective purposes.  When Mr. Williams came to this county in 1865 his capital consisted of $150 and a horse worth $80.  From this small beginning has grown his splendid estate and the means which enable him to enjoy every comfort and aid in every good work which secures his sympathy.
     The parents of our subject were Theophilus and Margaret (Ross) Williams, who were born respectively in Maryland and Ohio.  His father was quite young when he first made his home in Pickaway County, Ohio, and there he grew to maturity and married.  He continued to reside there until about 1862, when he removed to Johnson County, Kan.  In that county he and his good wife entered into rest, the one in 1867 and the other a few years later.  They were the parents of a large family, of whom the following survive;  Andrew J., Allen, Thomas B., Elizabeth (Mrs. Franklin Riley), Mary (Mrs. Joseph Williams), Minerva (Mrs. Perry Phillips), Lewis, Ross, Benjamin F. and Marcus L.
The natal day of Allen Williams was June 9, 1838, and his birthplace the parental farm in Pickaway County, Ohio.  He grew to maturity amid scenes of somewhat primitive nature and received a limited education in the early schools of his native county.  The memories of his boyhood include the old-fashioned log schoolhouse, with a rough board laid on wooden pins beside the wall, where but one pupil at a time could write, and the pen was made from a goose-quill by the teacher, needing frequent repointing after the crude efforts of the learners.  The schools were kept up by subscription until Mr. Williams was twelve years old, when the public school system was introduced in that locality.  Better accommodations were supplied as the country progressed in development and the people were able to give time and means to the cause they loved.
     Mr. Williams was reared to agricultural pursuits and has from his youth been engaged in farming and stock-raising.  He came to Piatt County, Ill., in 1865, and for some two years was employed by the job on farms here.  He then married and set up his home, aided in his efforts to accumulate property and surround himself with comforts, by a faithful and capable wife.  This lady bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Applegate, and their wedding took place Feb. 25, 1868.  A family of six children blessed the happy union, their names being Laura, Alice, Luther, Arthur, Oscar and Blanche.  The wife and mother was called hence Feb. 8. 1882.  Three years later, Feb. 10, 1885, Mr. Williams was again married, his bride being Mrs. Martha Huffman, widow of the late Frank Huffman, of Monticello.
     That Mr. Williams has been pre-eminently successful in a worldly sense his splendid estate attests.  As a citizen he is public-spirited, anxious to see the country advancing rapidly in moral, educational and material respects.  He has served as Justice of the Peace in Willow Branch Township four years, and has decided wisely the questions referred to him.  In politics he is a Democrat, true to his principles and ready to give a reason for his faith.  He is of a social nature, possessing the attributes that render a man popular in society, and standing well among his fellow-citizens.  He is strictly temperate, having never even tasted intoxicating liquor, and in this respect has set a most worthy example to the youth of this generation.
     Elsewhere in this volume the reader will notice a lithographic portrait of Mr. Williams.
Clarkson Williams was a brave volunteer who did valuable service as a gallant soldier during the late war, and has since done good work in Piatt County as an industrious farmer who is busily carrying on his agricultural operations on section 16, Willow Branch Township.  Our subject is of pioneer antecedents and is a native of Vermillion County, Ind., his birth occurring there Sept. 20, 1839.  His parents were Clarkson C. and Nancy (Ater) Williams, natives of Ohio.  They had a large family of children of whom the following survive:  Mrs. Eliza Cline; Clarkson, Joseph, Ralston and Mary M. wife of Monroe Peck.   In the fall of 1849 and the parents settled on a farm now owned by our subject in Willow Branch Township.  The family had previously come to Moultrie County from their old home in Indiana where they had lived for a short time before coming here.  The father of our subject settled on the homestead on section 16, when it was in the perfectly wild condition and the surrounding neighborhood was a very sparsely settled; he died in 1852 only a few years after he came here.  His widow survived him until Aug., 1886, when she too passed away.  He was a sound Democrat in politics and as a pioneer of the township his death was a loss to its interests.  In connection with farming he carried on the trade of a blacksmith, and was a sort of a general mechanic.
     Clarkson Williams was reared to man's estate mid the pioneer scenes of Piatt County.  He obtained a good practical knowledge of farming in his youth and adopted that calling for his life work.  He received his education in the early pioneer schools of the county.  After the death of his father the management of the home farm and the care of the family devolved largely upon our subject, and well did he perform his duty.  He was in the flush of early manhood when the great civil strife broke out between the North and the South, and as soon as he could arrange it, he laid aside his work to take part in the conflict, enlisting in Aug., 1862, in Company K, One Hundred and Seventh Illinois Infantry, which became a part of Sherman's army and also served for a time under Gen. Thomas.  Mr. Williams took part in the battle of Knoxville, in the siege of Atlanta, fought the enemy at Franklin and Nashville, and in numerous other engagements.  His record as a brave, efficient and faithful soldier reflected credit on his regiment.  After a long term of service, in which he endured the hardships and trials of a soldier's life with fortitude, he was honorably discharged and returned to Camp Butler, Ill., where he was mustered out of the service.
     Upon leaving the army Mr. Williams came to Piatt County and has lived here ever since.  Here his marriage with Miss Sarah F. McCurdy, a native of Brown County, Ill., took place Feb. 6, 1868.  Their married life has been as felicitious as usually falls to the lot of mortals and has been blessed to them by seven children, of whom these five are living:  Jane, Eliza, Edward, Elizabeth and Otis C.  Those deceased are Minnie and Thomas.
     Mr. Williams
owns one hundred and twenty acres of land on section 16, Willow Branch Township, which forms a part of his father's old homestead, and here he is busily and profitably prosecuting his calling.  His fields are well-tilled and yield him good harvests, and his farm is supplied with all the necessary buildings and improvements.  He conducts his affairs in a business-like manner, so that he enjoys the confidence of all with whom he deals, and he is well thought of in his community.  His political views are expressed in the platform of the Democratic party.
(Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of DeWitt & Piatt Counties, Illinois - Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1891 - Copyrighted 1885)
Joseph Williams, who was one of the brave defenders of the Union in the late Civil War, is carrying on farming and stockraising on section 16, Willow Branch Township, and holds an honorable place among the men of his class in Piatt County.  He is a native of Vermilion County, Ind., and was born Nov. 22, 1841, to Clarkson C. and Nancy (Ater) Williams, natives of Ohio. His parents had several children, of whom the following survive:  Mrs. Eliza Cline, Clarkson, Joseph, Ralston; and Margaret, wife of Monroe Peck.
     When our subject was quite young his parents came to Illinois, and after a short residence in Moultrie County came to Piatt County, and cast in their lot with the early settlers of Willow Branch Township.  Here the father carried on farming in connection with blacksmithing, and was well known in this section of th country, where he resided until his death.
     Joseph Williams, the subject of this biographical review, passed his early life amid pioneer scenes and he has done much pioneer work.  He has always devoted himself to farming, and has done very well, as he has acquired a farm of one hundred and twenty acres of excellent land, that compares very favorably with others in its vicinity in point of cultivation and improvement.  Here he and his family have a happy home and quietly enjoy the comforts of life that they have gathered around them.
     Our subject had not attained his majority when he enlisted in August, 1862, to help preserve the Union from destruction in the great civil contest that was then raging.  His name was enrolled as a member of Company K, One Hundred and Seventeenth Illinois Infantry, which became a part of Sherman's army and served as such the most of the time during the war, being attached to the Twenty-third Army Corps.  Our subject and his comrades first met the enemy in East Tennessee, and then assisted Sherman in his celebrated Georgia campaign, taking part in many battles and skirmishes.  He was present at the siege of Atlanta and also at the siege of Knoxville.  He fought gallantly in the great battle at Franklin, which by some is regarded as the most hotly contested engagement during the Rebellion.  Our subject also faced the enemy at Kenesaw Mountain and at Altoona Mountain, and in numerous other engagements.  In the battle of Franklin he was wounded in the right wrist and otherwise suffered much from the privations and hardships incidental to the life of a soldier.  He was finally discharged July 11, 1865.
     After his hard experience of life on Southern battlefields our subject returned to Piatt County, and resumed the work which he had dropped to take up arms for his country.  His marriage with Miss Mary Williams occurred Sep. 1, 1866, and she is an invaluable helpmate to him.  She is an excellent housekeeper and understands well how to make her household comfortable.  To her and our subject have been born seven children, named as follows:  Eva, Miama, Joseph Jr., Rufus, Sylvia, Mary S. and Wilsie.  Mr. Williams is justly regarded as a man of unimpeachable character, and his fellow-citizens have much respect for him.  He and his family are kindly, hospitable people, and are much esteemed members of society.
(Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of DeWitt & Piatt Counties, Illinois - Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1891 - Copyrighted 1885)
Joseph Wilson has displayed much enterprise and ability in carrying on his farming operations, and has won for himself a high place among the men of his class, not only in Goose Creek Township, where he resides but in Piatt County at large.  He was born in Washington County, Md., Jul. 16, 1833.  His father, John Wilson, was probably a native of that State, and he died while yet in life's prime in the year 1836.  The mother of our subject whose maiden name was Sarah Hunt, and who was a native of Maryland was thus left a widow with two little children, both of whom are still living.  She then removed to Greene County, Ohio.  Her death occurred in 1872 at a venerable age.
     Early deprived of a father's care, our subject lived with Samuel Bowen from the time he was six years old until the time he was sixteen and in the meantime was well trained in farming.  His school privileges were limited, as he was obliged to work to support himself.  When he began to work he received only $9 a month and he was thus employed several years.  When he was twenty-three years of age he began farming on his own account.  He had previously come to Illinois in 1853 and was employed by others in Tazewell County for three years.  He subsequently rented land for ten years, and in 1863 invested some of his money in land of his own.  He lived in Normal some years and then removed to Atlanta, where he remained but a few months however, going from there to Beson.  In January, 1877, he came to Piatt County, and settled in Goose Creek Township, where he bought land.  He lived on that place for five years and then rented it, as he had decided to take up his residence at Farmer City that his children might have better school advantages.  He lived there one year and we next hear of him at Deland, whither he went in 1882.  He was there five years and since then has made his home on his farm.  He has here in Goose Creek Township three hundred and three acres of land of exceptional fertility and productiveness.  Its improvements are first class, and include a commodious frame house, which he erected in 1888.
     Mr. Wilson was one of three men to establish and operate a large tile factory at Deland, with which he was connected a year and a half.  He began life without any means, and it was only by the force of indomitable will and by the exercise of untiring industry, seconded by clear judgment and sagacious foresight that he has placed himself among the moneyed men of his township.  He is a member in high standing of the Christian Church, as is his good wife also.  Politically he is a Republican.
     The marriage of Mr. Wilson and Miss Lucinda Judy was duly celebrated in 1856, and has brought to them the following six children:  Rosa E., Sarah A., Amanda J., (deceased), Mary B., Jacob G. and Mattie M. (deceased).  These children have been given excellent educational advantages and have been carefully trained.
     Mrs. Wilson is a native of Illinois and was born in Tazewell County in 1838.  She is a daughter of Jacob and Mary (Music) Judy.  Her father was born in Ohio in 1804.  Her mother was born in Kentucky in 1812, and died in 1884.  Mr. Music was the first man to settle on Sugar Creek in Logan County.  Mr. Judy came to Illinois in 1827.  He entered land in Tazewell County and lived there until 1865.  Since that time he has made his home at Atlanta.  He was married after coming to this State, his wife being the daughter of a pioneer family of Logan County, who settled there in 1819.  He is a devoted member of the Christian Church, as was also his wife.
(Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of DeWitt & Piatt Counties, Illinois - Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1891 - Copyrighted 1885)
Joseph WilsonFor many years Mr. Wilson was one of the active and progressive farmers of Piatt county, as well as one of its most reliable and honored citizens, and now in his declining years he is enjoying a well-earned rest, free from the cares and responsibilities of business life.  He makes his home in Deland and is widely and favorably known throughout the county where he has resided for over a quarter of a century.
     Mr. Wilson was born in Maryland, July 16, 1833, a son of John and Sarah (Hunt) Wilson, who were also natives of that state, where the father spent his entire life, his occupation being that of farming.  He died in 1834, and his wife, who was born in 1802, departed this life in Ohio in 1874.  To them were born two children: Joseph of this review, and his sister, Sophia.
     When four years old Joseph Wilson went to Ohio with his mother, his father having died during his infancy, and at the age of seven he commenced earning his own livelihood.  For about two or three months during the winter he was allowed to attend school, conducted in an old log building, but his educational privileges were meager, the remainder of this time being devoted to farm work by the month at eight dollars per month, and was employed in that way until coming to Illinois in 1853.  Settling in Tazewell county, he continued in the employ of others until his marriage, and then rented a farm in that county.  He afterward operated his father-in-law's place for eight years, and then purchased one hundred and nine acre in the same county, moving his home there for three years.  On selling his farm he removed to Normal, Illinois, where he spent two years, and the following five years were passed at Atlanta, Logan county, this state, where he purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres.  In 1876 he came to Piatt county and bought three hundred acres near DeLand, which he operated until Jan. 20, 1901, when he retired from active business and removed to DeLand, renting his farm.  With the hope of benefiting his heath, which was much impaired, he recently spent four months at Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and on his return purchased the Dresbach property, which he expects soon to occupy.  He bought a house and lot here in 1898 and another in 1902, both of which he now rents.
     On the 16th of October, 1856, Mr. Wilson, was untied in marriage to Miss Lucinda Judy, a daughter of Jacob and Mary Ann (Musick) Judy.  Her mother was born on Nov. 20, 1812, and died in 1884, but her father, who was born in Green county, Ohio, Jan. 9, 1804, is still living, and, although ninety-nine years of age, still enjoys good health, though his eyesight has failed him.  In early life he engaged in farming in his native state, but as early as 1823 he came to Illinois and settled in Tazewell county, where he followed the same pursuit.  He is now a resident of Logan county, this state.  In 1886 he was again married, his second union being with Mary Ann Hawes.  The children by his first marriage were Nancy Jane, the widow of Ellis Roberts, of Champaign county, Illinois; Robert, who died on Mar. 27, 1902; Eliza, the widow of Nimrod Brighton, of Hopedale, Tazewell county, who died at Eureka Springs, Arkansas, about eight years ago; Annie, wife of Allen Haneline, of Armington, Illinois; Mary Belle, who died April 28, 1897; Lucinda, wife of our subject; and Sarah, Hattie and John, who all three died in infancy. 
     The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were as follows:  Rose Ellen, now the wife of William Gelsthorpe, a former of Logan county, Illinois; Sarah Ann, wife of D. P. Swisher, a farmer of Piatt county; Amanda, who died Feb. 29, 1888; May Bell, wife of J. L. Borton, who is engaged in farming near DeLand; Jacob G., a farmer of this county; and Mattie May, who died Oct. 9, 1887.  The parents are both earnest and consistent members of the Christian church, and are held in the highest respect by all who know them.  Politically, Mr. Wilson is identified with the Republican party, but he has never cared for the honors or emoluments of public office, preferring to devote his entire time and attention to his business interests.  He deserves great credit for what he has achieved in life, as he began making his own way in the world at the age of seven years and has since been dependent upon his own resources.  He is a man of good business ability, sound judgment and strict integrity, and to these characteristics is due his success.

(Past & Present of Piatt County, Illinois - together with biographical sketches of many prominent and influential citizens) - Charles McIntosh, Associate editor - Chicago - The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1903)
John S. Woolington is a worthy representative of the pioneers of Piatt County.  He came here in early days and has not only been a witness of almost the entire growth of this section of the State but he has  contributed his quota to its upbuilding.  He resides on section 1, Monticello Township, on a farm that has been developed from the wilderness by his own hands.  Mr. Woolington is a native of Pickaway County, Ohio, and was there born December 11, 1818, in the humble pioneer home of his parents, Thomas and Nitha (Stokes) Woolington, natives of Maryland, and of English origin.  His father was a gallant soldier in the War of 1812.
     Our subject was bred to the life of a farmer on his father's farm in his native county.  He received but limited educational advantages, as the early schools of Ohio were of a primitive sort.  He was married in Ohio, October 8, 1835, to Isabel Kile, a native of Pickaway County, and a daughter of William Kile.  Of this marriage were born the following children, of whom two are living:  Henry, a resident of Monticello, and Sarah, wife of James P. Davis of the same place.  Those deceased are Mary, Edward, and a child who died in infancy.  The mother of these children died in 1848.
     In the fall of 1838 our subject started out with his little family, in company with Joseph Kile, his brother-in-law and his family, to make the journey through the wild intervening country from Ohio to Shelby County, Ill.  The little company had but one wagon and four horses, and our subject had to walk the entire distance of four hundred miles and at night slept under the wagon for shelter.  He remained in Shelby County, four years and farmed there as a renter.  He then came to Piatt County, where he has since lived.  He settled upon his present farm in 1854.  It was partly wild land and he has brought into its present fine condition by sheer hard work.  He and his wife had many hardships and privations to endure, as did the other pioneers in this then newly settled region, but they bore all uncomplainingly and toiled with a steadfast will until they had accomplished their purpose and built up a comfortable home in which they are passing their declining years in peace and plenty, free from the cares that beset their early days.
     Mr. Woolington has one hundred and thirty-one acres of land which is mostly under cultivation and is subject to many excellent improvements, that make it one of the most desirable estates in its vicinity.  His life record is that of a man who has always striven to do his duty and has won a high reputation for honesty and truthfulness.  He and his good wife are most sincere Christians, and are valued members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  For more than half a century they have walked life's road together and their domestic life has furnished an example of true wedded bliss.  Mr. Woolington has served as School Director and has done all in his power not only to promote the cause of education but to advance other interests in his adopted township.  In his politics he is one of the strongest and truest members of the Republican party.  Mr. Woolington was again married August 13, 1849, to Mrs. Susannah Devore, nee Barnes; this lady is a native of Ohio and came to this State in 1833 when sixteen years old.  Mrs. Woolington has four children by her first marriage two of whom are living: Sarah M. Bondurant and William C. DeVore.


* Picture
** Buried in Chandler Cemetery

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